Monday, January 14, 2008

A Word or Two on Racial Tensions

Up until recently, the biggest "racial moment" in this election season occurred months ago when Joe Biden called Barack Obama "clean," sending Al Sharpton into something of a tizzy while Obama politely took it as a compliment. Well, that's all changed. And in such a historic election, we knew it would.

I'm sure you've heard about Hillary Clinton's remarks about Martin Luther King, Jr. and Lyndon Johnson (find a refresher here). In short, she stated that it took a well-seasoned politician (LBJ) to get the dreamer's (MLK's) ideas put into action. So, she is LBJ, and Obama is MLK? Or, she is LBJ, the Democratic Party is MLK, and Obama is... I don't know what. Either way, comparing one's self to Lyndon Baines Johnson does not seem like a wise strategy.

So, anyway, the Obama campaign is saying that Hillary (and Bill, too) are downplaying the importance of civil rights activists like Dr. King. Hillary is saying that she is simply being pragmatic, that Dr. King was a great man with great ideas, but those ideas needed someone sympathetic to the cause within the system in order to get them to become a reality.

Really, Hillary is right. Civil rights legislation wouldn't have been passed without a president fighting for it. But, there's an important caveat: a president wouldn't have been fighting for it without activists like Dr. King fighting for it. So, it's rather circular. MLK wants change, pressures LBJ. LBJ enacts change. LBJ wouldn't enact change without MLK's pressure. So, who is really responsible for civil rights legislation?

It's a stupid question, isn't it?

Sure is. The answer doesn't really matter, and Hillary was rather stupid for throwing the question out there in the first place. I mean, come on! It's basically as if she is saying "Hey, you remember that famous civil rights activist, MLK? Yeah, I don't want to be like him. I want to be like that guy who tried to take credit for his work."

Seriously. Comparing yourself to LBJ? What the Hell is the matter with you, Hillary? You'd be better off continuing your habit of taking credit for your husband's eight years.

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